Types of Cleaning Chemicals

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We all know surfaces are only as clean as the cleaning chemicals used on them. For this reason, it is imperative to use the correct cleaning chemicals and cleaning equipment on various surfaces. Cleaning chemicals and detergents should always be used according to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the best results

Cleaning chemicals can be divided into four categories:


Detergents are probably the most common cleaning chemicals used in the home and vary from floor cleaners, dishwashing cleaners, washing powders, hand soaps and so on. These products are used to remove dirt and grease from a number of surfaces. Detergents should be diluted according to the manufacturer’s instruction and should ideally be used with warm water. Generally, a detergent will simply clean a surface it is applied to; it will not kill any germs or bacteria on the surface.

In certain environments it is vital that all surfaces are germ free, such as in a doctor or dentist room, restaurant or even a bathroom. Disinfectants are not able to kill all bacteria spores. In order to apply a disinfectant to an area, it must first be cleaned thoroughly with other cleaning chemicals, such as a detergent. This is done in order to first remove any dirt or grime on surfaces before applying a disinfectant.

Sterilising Agents

Sterilising agents are similar to disinfectants, but are generally used for specialised areas where sterile surfaces and objects are a prerequisite, such as in an operating theatre. These cleaning chemicals are able to kill bacteria spores, viruses and germs that may be resistant to the chemicals found in disinfectants. In order to ensure surfaces and objects are sterile, sterilising chemicals are used with other cleaning methods such as steam or heating when absolute sterility is a crucial.


Apart from general cleaning detergents, sanitisers are also commonly used cleaning agents used in the home. This is because they are so convenient to use. Sanitisers contain cleaning chemicals which are able to disinfect and clean at the same time, therefore they contain a detergent as well as a sterilising agent or disinfectant.


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